Letters to the Editor
Volume VI Number 32
August 13-19, 1998
End Classroom Battles
Dear New Bay Times~Weekly:
Students and their parents bear the brunt of school board-county government disagreements.
The Anne Arundel County Executive, County Council and the school board need to stop this repeated skirmish over who can rule the classroom.
While you are waging war, children are not getting the textbooks and teachers they need to improve their reading, writing and math skills. School buildings with outdated light fixtures and asbestos ceiling tiles (like Severna Park Middle) are not getting the maintenance and replacement they need. Our relics of past mistakes, like open classrooms at Folger McKinsey and Broadneck Elementary Schools, are not being corrected.
We are wasting our efforts on arguing rather than setting goals and working toward improving our schools.
The county executive and the council need to accept that they cannot dictate specifics to the school systems. But they can influence the school board by providing incentives for accountability.
On the other hand, the school board and board of education need to get smarter about spending money. We know what it requires to teach children. The school board needs to set priorities to get the job done with the resources available. If those resources are inadequate, specifically explain the reasons, and I am sure the people of Anne Arundel County would support you.
Anne Arundel County needs to provide consistent, strong and effective support for our schools instead of making the classroom a battleground for power.
-Mary P. Marsh, Arnold
Pollinators Profoundly Pestered
Dear New Bay Times~Weekly:
"The Plagues of Summer" by Don Kehne [July 23-29] is the kind of story you love to hate. Kehne tells us as much as we can bear about pests that fly, creep, crawl, sting and pester themselves into our summer fun. His article is an encyclopedia of useful information. We now know that it's not Godzilla we have to fear, but the swarms outside our door.
Still, I'll never forgive him for putting the image in my mind of a fly moving from cow pie to apple pie. It ranks up there with the movie Psycho, after which a generation of movie goers were afraid of getting into the shower. For that piece of imagery, he should get an Oscar.
But seriously, ask any entomologist and you'll learn that not all insects are proliferating. In fact, we stand warned that bees are in serious decline. Our primary pollinators are being attacked by parasites, diseases and pesticides. From a recent science report in the Washington Post, "experts see the decline of the bees and other pollinators as evidence of more profound disturbances in the natural world."
This summation is no more cheery than Kehne's advice, "avoid them if you can." But like his article, it's important information to know.
-F.L. Collins, Churchton
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